Venice is a beachfront neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles, California. The neighborhood, which was originally called Venice of America, was modeled after the canal-covered city of Venice, Italy.
When the city (turned neighborhood) of Venice, California was born it drew in thousands of visitors weekly who were astounded not only by the beach in the area, but also by the extensive man-made canal system.
Thousands of people still flock to the neighborhood weekly for a range of activities including strolling through the Canals, checking out the neighborhood’s art scene, hanging out at the famed Venice Beach, and shopping on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Stroll through the Venice Canals
One of the most beautiful parts of the Venice neighborhood is the Venice Canals.
Modeled after the famous canals in Venice, Italy, the canals in California are definitely something that are not to be missed during a trip to Los Angeles.
These man-made canals were created by the neighborhood’s founder, Abbot Kinney, who wanted to create a system similar to that in Venice, Italy, where people could use gondolas to move from one area to another.
Unfortunately due to the rise of automobile use in the late 1920’s, many of the original canals that were built were filled in to create more streets for the automobiles to drive on.
Today, only a small handful of the original 16 miles of canals are still in existence. Despite the fact that only a small portion of the canals remain, they are still a magnificent and beautiful sight to behold.
Address & Hours | 200 Linnie Canal, Venice, CA 90291 | No hours, however the canals are best viewed before sunset. Keep in mind that this is a residential neighborhood, so try to avoid making a lot of noise.
Getting Around & Parking | A walkway with bridges surrounds the canals. Not ideal for biking as the path is rather small. Dogs are allowed on the walkway. Free parking can be found on the residential neighborhoods surrounding the canals (but you might have to circle the neighborhood a few times to find it).
Public Transportation | Metro Rapid 733 (link)
Check Out the Art Scene
Venice has quite a nice art scene, from street art to art museums, the neighborhood has it all. As a lover of all things artistic, I definitely felt right at home in the area.
During my time in LA, I met a guy at a restaurant that I was dining at who suggested that I check out an intimate art gallery in the neighborhood called L.A. Louver. Founded in 1975, L.A. Louver showcases contemporary art by both Los Angeles based and international artists. During my visit, there was a beautiful exhibition being displayed called Counterfeit by British artist Jason Martin (pictured above).
In addition to art galleries, Venice also has a large collection of street art that is worth checking out and photographing (see a gallery here by Candace Butler).
Hang out on Venice Beach
Venice Beach is possibly the most interesting beach in America. Visit California refers to it as ‘edgy, artsy, and sometimes odd’, and I would have to agree with all of those descriptions.
While the beach area is mostly where you will see people soaking up the rays from the beautiful California sun , the Boardwalk is where most of the exciting action happens.
The street performers on the boardwalk will do everything from wow you with their incredible abilities to make your draw drop in horror at the interesting ways that the try to make money. Either way, you are guaranteed to have a good time laughing (with or at) the people on the Boardwalk.
Parking | Paid parking is available at the beach, but save your money and park in the residential neighborhoods near the canal for free and walk over
Public Transportation | Metro Rapid 733
Shop & Eat on Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Last but not least: a trip to the neighborhood of Venice would be incomplete without visiting the popular one-mile-long Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Abbot Kinney Blvd. is an excellent place to go for both tourists and locals alike. The street has a number of boutique shops, restaurants, and dessert shops to keep you entertained for hours.
I found a great (and very affordable) boutique shop called Heavenly Couture where all items were $17.99 or less, and I found the quality of the items to be comparable to those you would find in Forever 21.
For dinner, I ate a nice cauliflower T-Bone steak at the vegan ‘vegetable slaughterhouse’ restaurant called The Butcher’s Daughter, which has outposts in both LA and New York.
For dessert, I was considering two locally recommended options, the wildly popular ice cream shop Salt & Straw, which had lines out of the door the entire time I was hanging out on the street, or the delectable-sounding donuts at Blue Star Donuts. I did not end up getting either of them, however I vowed that I would return to the neighborhood to try both the next time I find myself in Los Angeles.
I had a wonderful time exploring the neighborhood Venice for an afternoon during my trip to LA, and I cannot wait to return!